So, for my last blog I decided to do the Media Analyze again because there are so many amazing environmental artists out there who are really trying to send a strong message to the world through their unique work. This week I was inspired by Chris Jordan. He is an environmental photographer who exposes tremendous amounts of American mass consumption with his shocking, clever, and meaningful artwork. He illustrates modern U.S. culture through his photographs showing the genuine reality up close for what is to come if we don’t make a change. Instead of looking at charts and statistics on mass consumption, youare looking at it in the face, it truest form, and the worst reality of it is that WE are the reason we’re seeing such disturbing images of our planet. I wanted to really focus on his portfolio called “Running the Numbers” series I and II. He focuses on hundreds of things that American’s consume every day and bases his artwork off of that idea. Some examples he has used in his art have been the amount of aluminum cans, paper bags or office paper, cellphones, chargers, and cars used every second, minute, hour and year. He claims that his visual pieces make it easier to connect with and make meaning of the amount of consumption we do every day, and in the end the truth of how much we waste. This quote said by Chris Jordan, “this project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. Employing themes such as the near versus the far, and the one versus the many, I hope to raise some questions about the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming”, and is what I believe to be his goal. He wants to raise awareness to people that can’t comprehend how far the numbers are going up and how we need to make a change or else we will be seeing a lotworse in the near future, when it’s too late.
The piece above is the one that I wanted to share with you guys today. This picture represents 139,000 cigarette butts (picture on the right, zoomed in closely), equal to the number of cigarettes that are smoked and discarded ever 15 seconds in the U.S. This is relevant because cigarette butts are the number one littered item in America. Mostly found in urban environments, parks, beaches and many more. For something already so harmful to humans, it is even more detrimental to the environment. These small cigarette butts bleed toxic chemicals and carcinogens into the ground, which gets into the water sources and animals, polluting our fragile ecosystems. Last but certainly not least the filters never biodegrade. This doesn’t even include the groundwork that goes into making cigarettes. Lots of land, chemical fertilizers, packaging and exacerbating greenhouse gas levels from burning land to use. All of these very negatively influencing our environment because of the choices we make to smoke and litter. Below I will attach the link to his website so that you can look up some of his other really interesting pieces. I’m pretty sure there’s a TED talk about Chris Jordan too if you guys are interested in watching that.